Without a doubt, some of the most popular genres of music including rock were inspired by Blues. As they say, Blues was born in the late 1800s in the Mississippi Delta of the American south. Some of the early blues musicians who shaped this genre include Howlin Wolf, Willie Dixon, and Muddy Waters.
In this post we will look at 9 best blues rock songs you can learn on guitar. These songs are easy and have all the elements that will certainly improve your blues rhythm and riffing abilities.
” Because If you don’t like Blues, you don’t like your mama! Cause it’s the ruler of music, man! It’s like cooking potatoes, you may fry ’em, you may bake ’em, you may cut ’em up, you may smash ’em, but they are still potatoes! “Bobby Rush, Blues Musician
Here are the 9 best blues rock songs to learn on guitar
1. La Grange by ZZ Top
Key – A
Released in 1973, this is one of the most popular singles from ZZ Top’s third studio album ‘Tres Hombres‘. Known for its great techniques, this song is often considered as “a standard for guitarists to show off their chops”.
In an interview with Mozo Magazine, Billy Gibbons confessed that this is his song that he sings in the shower. He added, “It’s the single ZZ Top track with only two verses. I can recite it in proper tempo, then get on with it.”
If you are specifically looking for the best blues rock songs, then you can’t miss out on this one. It is produced by Bill Ham and is in the key of A. The main riff of the song starts with an A power chord and importantly it is easy to play.
The five chords used in this song are A-C-D-Eb-F. Refer the lesson mentioned below by Marty Music to learn the complete song in detail.
2. All Along The Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix
Key – Cm
This folk rock song is originally written by Bob Dylan for his eighth studio album ‘John Wesley Harding‘. Six months after the release, Jimi Hendrix covered this song in blues rock style which later became his highest ranking American Single.
Reacting to Hendrix’s version, Dylan said, “I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way. Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way.”
Coming back to the song structure, Hendrix’s version is in the key of Cm and the chord progression goes like Cm-Bb-Ab. You will also find some cool pentatonic blues licks in this song that sounds awesome and not that difficult to play. However, if you are completely new to blues, it may take some time to learn. Overall, it is a great and easy blues rock song to learn on guitar. Try it today, trust me, you won’t regret it.
3. Roadhouse Blues by The Doors
Key – E
Released in February 1970, Roadhouse Blues is one of the best blues rock songs you can learn on guitar. The main part of the song is its opening riff that repeats throughout the song.
The riff is built on the open low E string and uses E minor pentatonic scale. If you are seeking some inspiration, then this is the best song you can learn to overcome your creativity block. Head over to the lesson below to learn all the parts of the song.
If you haven’t heard the song, then I recommend you first give it a listen on YouTube.
“Roadhouse Blues is one of my personal favorites. I was always proud of that song because as it is, it’s not just another blues. That one lick makes it a song, and I think that sums up the genius of the Doors.”Robby Krieger ( Door’s Guitarist ),
4. Black Betty by Ram Jam
Key – B
Black Betty is originally written by Lead Belly for his album “Negro Sinful Songs”. In 1977, American rock band, Ram Jam rejuvenated this song with a blues rock touch which became an instant hit.
This is one of those blues classics that has a powerful beat and an aggressive tempo. It really gets your heart beating and makes you feel great. Do give it a listen on YouTube if you haven’t, you will love it for sure.
If you are new to electric guitars then you may find the riffs used in this song a little hard but learnable. The song starts with an intense kick drum followed by the intro riff that slides from A power chord to B.
As I have said, you may find the riffs a little tricky but as you will listen more and more you will figure it out. Watch the video lesson below to get a detailed breakdown of the song.
5. When My Train Pulls In by Gary Clark Jr
Key – Em
Known for blending blues, rock, and soul music with hip hop elements, Gary Clark is influenced by a variety of musical genres. “When My Train Pulls In” from his “Black and Blu” album is a perfect example of his capabilities.
This 12 bar blues rock song is based on E minor pentatonic scale. The opening riff of the song is played using the open bass notes of the guitar and it involves picking and hammer-ons.
To exactly sound like the original song you have to use a Fuzz Effect pedal as Gary uses lot of Fuzz in his tone. Overall it is a great blues rock song that you can have fun with.
6. Pride and Joy by Stevie Ray Vaughan
Key – E
Pride and Joy is again a great blues-rock song that you can consider adding to your learning list. Released in 1983, this song is one of the bests by Stevie Ray Vaughan. It is in the key of E and played in E♭ tuning.
The main riff of the song is based on 12 bar blues and the chord progression goes as E-E7-A-B7-A7 with an upbeat strumming. This song is filled with tons of tasty licks and techniques like hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, and position shifts.
Overall, this is the best song on to learn if you want to improve your blues rhythm guitar techniques.
7. Sunshine of Your Love by Cream
Key – Dm
Released in 1967, Sunshine of Your Love is the highest rating single by the power trio Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, and Eric Clapton. Through this song along with White Room and I Feel Free, Cream popularized a mixture of blues, rock, and psychedelic music in Europe.
A perfect bridge between rock, pop, and blues, Sunshine of Your Love is the song that merged the three genres. According to Clapton, Jack Bruce wrote the main riff of this song after attending a Jimi Hendrix concert and getting inspired by a bass riff.
The main riff of the song is based on D minor blues pentatonic scale and follows a blues chord progression. It starts on the 12th fret of the D string and pretty fun and easy to play. Consider checking out this one on Youtube if you haven’t. I am sure, you are going to love it.
8. Get It On by T-Rex
Key – E
This is the easiest blues-rock song on this list that has only three chords. Released in 1971, Get It On is one of the most popular classics by the English Rock Band, T-Rex. It was initially titled “Bang a Gong”.
They later retiled it to ‘Get It On’ in order to prevent confusion with a song of the same name by an American Jazz-Rock band called Chase.
Get It On is written by English Singer-Songwriter Marc Bolan and produced by American record producer, musician, and singer Tony Visconti. This is one of those songs that is covered by a lot of big bands.
The main part of this song is its opening riff that is played on the low E power chord. It sounds cool and pretty easy to play riff. To learn the riff refer to the lesson below by Michael Casswell from Lick Library.
9. Layla by Derek and the Dominos
Key – Dm
Originally written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon, Layla is one of the greatest blues-rock songs you can learn on guitar. This song contains tons of classic licks, riffs, and techniques that you can learn. It a complete package for blues enthusiasts looking for blues-rock songs.
The intro riff of the song is based on hammers on and pull offs on the 5th string. If you are completely new to these techniques, it may take some time to master the riff, but with practice anything is possible.
The good news is after you learn these classics mentioned in this list, it will be very easy for you to play other things on guitar.